Skip to main content

Why are the billionaires always laughing?

Because they know the corporate media will never call bullshit on their bullshit.

Why are the billionaires laughing?

It’s easy to laugh when the corporate press treats you as a glorious success instead of the epitome of a broken social order. Billionaires laugh because they know the corporate media prefers to fawn over them rather than hold them to account.

Today, we ask you to support our nonprofit, independent journalism because we are not impressed by billionaires flying into space, their corporations despoiling our health and planet, or their vast fortunes safely concealed in tax havens across the globe. We are not laughing.

We are hard at work producing journalism for the common good. With our Fall Campaign underway, please support this mission today. We cannot do it without you.

Support Our Work -- Join the small group of generous readers who donate, keeping Common Dreams free for millions of people each year. Every donation—large or small—helps us bring you the news that matters.

Demonstrators protest against the Dakota Access Pipeline. (Photo: Fibonacci Blue/Flickr/cc)

Outrage as Texas Senate Passes 'Unconstitutional' Bill That Would Hit Pipeline Protestors With Up to 10 Years in Prison

"Big oil is hijacking our legislative system," said Dallas Goldtooth of the Indigenous Environmental Network

Jake Johnson

Sparking outcry from indigenous tribes and environmental groups, the Texas state Senate on Monday passed industry-backed Republican legislation that would hit pipeline protestors with a third-degree felony and up to ten years in prison.

"Here in Texas, members of the legislative body are looking to pass laws that harshly criminalize free speech and the right to protest," Juan Mancias, Tribal Elder with the Carrizo Comecrudo Tribe of Texas, said in a statement.

"We will continue to support and fight beside the indigenous communities in Texas to make sure these unconstitutional laws do not stand."
—Dallas Goldtooth, Indigenous Environmental Network

As the Associated Press reported, the bill "would classify pipelines as critical infrastructure, putting them in the same category as power plants and water treatment facilities."

According to the AP, the "amended bill would still subject those who trespass and damage the facility to a third degree felony with up to 10 years in prison," a sentence on par with the punishment for attempted murder.

"But people impairing or interrupting operations would now face a misdemeanor with a fine up to $10,000 and potentially up to one year in jail," the AP reported.

As Common Dreams reported, the Texas House passed the legislation earlier this month.

Republican state Rep. Chris Paddie, the author of the bill, insisted that his legislation would not punish peaceful demonstrators, but indigenous leaders at the front of the fight against climate-destroying pipelines in Texas weren't buying it.

"We are at a tipping point as our ecosystems decline at accelerated rates and instead of protecting our environment, we are protecting big oil and pipelines," Jennifer K. Falcon, campaign manager with Society of Native Nations, said in a statement. "Across the country, we have seen these bill challenged for stripping us of our constitutional rights."

Dallas Goldtooth of the Indigenous Environmental Network vowed to fight the Texas bill and other similar Republican legislation across the country.

"Big oil is hijacking our legislative system," Goldtooth said. "Our Network is suing the state of South Dakota for passing a bill similar to the one being debated in Texas. Both are unconstitutional attempts to suppress public protest and are nothing but fear tactics. We will continue to support and fight beside the indigenous communities in Texas to make sure these unconstitutional laws do not stand."


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Simply Don't Exist.

As Sinema Blocks Corporate Tax Hike, Demand Grows for Wealth Tax on Billionaires

"It seems truly unhinged to look at a country full of working people struggling to get by... and decide that it's more important to preserve low tax rates for billionaires and corporations than it is to make significant investments in our families."

Julia Conley ·


Israel Condemned for Designating Palestinian Human Rights Groups 'Terrorist Organizations'

"Labeling effective NGOs 'terrorists' is a textbook way to evade accountability for human rights violations—and an affront to everyone who cares about peace," said Rep. Ilhan Omar.

Kenny Stancil ·


House Progressives Call On Biden to Declare a Climate Emergency—Now

"Your inaction," Rep. Cori Bush warned the president, "is undermining our efforts to deliver good jobs, environmental justice, and a renewable energy future."

Jessica Corbett ·


Despite Politicians and Pundits' Claims, Twitter Finds Algorithm Favors Right-Wing Voices

"So much for Trump's claim that Twitter has an anti-conservative bias."

Brett Wilkins ·


'And Maybe More': Biden Says He's Open to Reforming Filibuster to Win Voting Rights

"It's a simple choice between a free America or one chained by the past," said one advocate. "Our democracy hangs in the balance."

Julia Conley ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.


Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo